Monday, January 30, 2012

How Hard Is It To Get Into Dental School?

How competitive is it to get into dental school?  I have addressed this in my book in some detail, but want to add this interesting chart (I hope you can see it-click it to enlarge slightly):

This is a long term view of the popularity of dental school.  The red line is the number of applications, the blue line is the number of positions available.  In the year 2010, there were 12,202 applications for 5089 slots.  There are times where applications fell and other times where the number of applications rose.

You can see the overall trend that there are more applications per opening now than in the recent past.  So, is this a more competitive environment?  Yes.  However, this is data can be somewhat misleading if you are to conclude one has no chance.  Decisions on entrance are made one student at a time.  If all the additional applicants in recent years have a less attractive resume than you, then it does not matter as much whether there are more applicants or not.  Still, usually these are top notch applicants.  In fact, I have some data that indicates the "quality" of the applicant pool in increasing.

The striking thing to me is the greater desire of students to select dentistry as a career and the rather limited number of slots in dental schools to meet that demand.  That, "bulge" in the blue line in the 1976-1983 time frame produced a large number, some would say a glut or oversupply, of dentists that are still practicing today.  They will be retiring over the next 10 years.

I have talked to many a physician, and have seen medicine become a less attractive field than it might have been in previous years.  Also, in times of economic downturn, the stability of a profession like dentistry becomes more attractive--and more competitive.

More info can be obtained in my new book:


eRDent said...

In my opinion, to get into dental school is hard. You can't pass if you only have your brain. You menta and luck also involved in test. CMIIW
Dental Journal

Chris Dixon, DDS said...

Very interesting post. When I entered dental school in 2003, the talk was that many of the "baby boomer" dentists would soon be retiring and that there would be a surplus of practices for sale. The current economic crisis has definitely changed this, as people are putting off retirement possibly due to the decrease in value of their retirement portfolio.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

I agree Chris. I should write that large numbers of graduates from the late 70's will BEGIN to retire in 10 years (or 15). One problem I do see is older dentists who might want to retire and sell their practice having no new dentist buyers, so the just delay retirement. One should not go into dentistry thinking the market will change too much due to natural aging.

Local market conditions have much more of an effect on an indvidual dentist's economic situation and competition than the total number of denitsts nationwide.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

--and yes, dentists are staying in practice longer due to the economic downturn, just as you say.

Bee Cave Dentist said...

Is it hard to get into? Yes, roughly the same as medical school because there are fewer spots and Dental Schools do not match their undergraduate institutions in terms of difficulty of getting into.And also i can say that interesting post.

Pueblo Dentist said...

I have to agree with you that it is hard to get into the dental school nowadays. I have seen a lot of people who are interested in the dental career. It is nice to know this but it is really pity to know there aren't many slots available. It is nice to see your work about the dental school and the preparation to get into the dental schools.

Miami Dentist said...

Chris - you bring up a point that seems to have defined contemporary society's new "work model." Baby Boomers are definitely working longer, if for no other reason because of financial concerns and insecurity (that is, lack of dependable long-term financial security). Unfortunately that sense of "financial insecurity" has only gotten worse since '07 when the collapse of the major US lending institutions.